by AMY LEHRER | photo by Spark Photography

Two factors make April Hsu, an entering fourth grade GATE student at Stone Ranch Elementary School, successful. First, she embraces new experiences. “My school,” she explained, “has a lot of interesting activities throughout the year and I always try to participate.” She represented her third grade class in the Student Council, participated in her school’s Variety Show, practiced drawing and water color painting to produce beautiful flowers, and read voraciously, devouring detective stories and dog books, including Marley and Me. Secondly, she understands hard work produces results. She admitted, “My mom and dad inspire me to work hard to get good grades.” Her mom’s recent switch to a part time position, so she could spend more time with her family deeply touched her, and she feels that her parents’ explanation of math concepts has given her the confidence required to conquer difficult problems.

Proud of her Chinese roots, April diligently studies at the San Diego Chinese Academy (SDCA), which she attends every Sunday. She’s won awards for speech, poetry recitation, character recognition and storytelling. When she represented SDCA in a speech contest at the Southern California Council of Chinese Schools, she earned fourth place, surpassing fierce competitors from over sixty Chinese schools.

April also religiously practices her Gu Zheng, a traditional Chinese instrument with twenty-one strings. “The instrument looks so elegant,” she divulged, “and people are always awed by its divinely sound” – and the five hundred guests she performed for at UCSD can corroborate. “The fun thing is – my mom and I are taking lessons together. Sometimes,” she giggled, “we have a little competition to see who our instructor praises more during a lesson.”

In addition to her academics, April competes in sports. She is in a competitive soccer league and is learning kung fu, enjoying the quick twists, turns, punches and kicks.

Despite April’s busy schedule, she finds time to spend with her six-year-old brother, Aaron. She confided, “We both share a love for reading, so going to the library is one of our favorite activities.” In addition, they play soccer and build sand castles together.

Due to her varied experiences and her strong work ethic, April’s future looks promising. She dreams of becoming a small animal practice veterinarian due to her love of dogs and hopes to one day visit mainland China so that she can fully appreciate Chinese culture and customs.


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Name:  April Hsu
Age:  9 
School:  Stone Ranch Elementary
Grade:  4th
Parents:  Andy Hsu and Susanna He
Siblings:  Aaron (6)

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